Character and the Primaries of 2008: What Were the Media Master Narratives about the Candidates During the Primary Season?

A report by the Shorenstein Center and the Project for Excellence in Journalism analyzes positive and negative press coverage of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain. The study first examines the dominant personal narratives about the candidates in the media during the heat of the primary season. The most prominent negative theme in the coverage about Obama was the claim that he was inexperienced. For Clinton, it was the claim that she represented the politics of the past. For McCain, it was that he was not a true conservative. The report then analyzes how these media portrayals registered with the public.

Download the report (PDF).